Heidrick & Struggles Recruits Starbucks Board Director

February 10, 2016 – Heidrick & Struggles has placed Mary Dillon as a member of the board of directors at Starbucks Corp.

Ms. Dillon is chief executive officer of Ulta Beauty. Since she took the helm of there in 2013, the company has achieved record sales and earnings. Prior to that, she served as president and CEO of U.S. Cellular. During her tenure, the telecom company expanded its product and service offerings and strengthened new channels of distribution, while maintaining industry-leading customer satisfaction levels.

Ms. Dillon previously served as global chief marketing officer and executive vice president for McDonald’s Corporation, where she led the company’s worldwide marketing efforts and global brand strategy, including a focus on children’s well-being initiatives.

“Mary shares our desire to deliver shareholder value while embracing the values and guiding principles that serve our people, our customers, and the neighborhoods where we do business, and we are honored to have her join the Starbucks board of directors,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and CEO. “Mary’s proven track record for leveraging consumer insights and customer-focused strategies together with her leadership and passion for excellence make her the ideal addition to contribute to our next phase of growth as a company.”


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Starbucks is the ubiquitous American Fortune 500 coffee company and coffeehouse chain. Founded in Seattle in 1971, it operates 23,450 locations worldwide.

Recent research released by Heidrick & Struggles has found accelerating progress for women in boardrooms within the Fortune 500. “Companies are increasingly focused on appointing more women directors – recognizing that better governance results when diverse points of view are reflected in the boardroom,” said Bonnie Gwin, vice chairman and managing partner of Heidrick & Struggles’ board practice in North America.

“Boards are more open to candidates with different leadership profiles, experiences and backgrounds,” Ms. Gwin added. “This shift will lead to greater diversity of thinking and help boards benefit from wider-ranging strategic insights.”

Heidrick’s board practice offers an integrated suite of services, from the acquisition of talent to longer-term succession planning, board dynamics, and culture shaping. Its team of consultants has deep vertical experience in all industries, including global technology & services, industrial, consumer markets, financial services, life sciences, and non-profit and social enterprise.

Director recruiting has grown markedly more challenging in recent years, according to recruiters with board practice emphasis. According to Egon Zehnder, heightened expectations now placed on boards have elevated both the professional standards and personal commitment required of all directors.

At the same time, many boards find that the supply of independent-minded ‘board experienced’ directors – especially those who can add vital forms of specialized skills and expertise – is limited, as such candidates are both widely sought after and sometimes hesitant to take on the intensive responsibilities now required of board service.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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